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Manica ‘selected’ to support Chicago Bears’ new stadium plans

Manica Architecture is reportedly working with the Chicago Bears as the NFL team explores the possibility of building a new stadium on the site of Arlington International Racecourse.

Manica has been selected by the Bears to help with initial plans for the proposed stadium, according to the VenuesNow news outlet. Real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle and the CAA Icon agency are also said to be working with the Bears on the plans.

Manica refused to comment when contacted by TheStadiumBusiness.com.

JLL has previously worked with the Bears on a renovation project for the team’s current home, Soldier Field, while CAA Icon was involved in the multi-year redevelopment of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball team.

The Bears’ plans for a new stadium at Arlington International Racecourse are currently at the conceptual design stage. VenuesNow’s report added that Legends and CSL International are carrying out a study relating to the marketing of any potential new stadium.

Manica designed Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, as well as Chase Center, home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Earlier this week, it agreed a deal to become the lead design architect on a project to renovate Progressive Field, home of MLB’s Cleveland Guardians.

The Bears signed a $197m (£150m/€178m) purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse in September. The agreement covers the entire Arlington Park land parcel in the Village of Arlington Heights.

The Bears submitted a bid for the racecourse last June, with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot describing the move as “clearly a negotiating tactic” amid talk over the team’s long-term future at Soldier Field.

Arlington Racecourse staged its final meeting on September 25, just days before the Bears confirmed the purchase agreement for the facility. The racecourse sits on a 326-acre site around 30 miles northwest of Soldier Field, which is the oldest stadium in the NFL having opened in 1924.

With a capacity of 61,500, Soldier Field is also the smallest stadium in the league. The stadium is owned by the Chicago Park District and Lightfoot has previously expressed her determination that the Bears remain in the city, noting that the team’s current lease deal at Soldier Field is due to run until 2033.

The Bears have insisted that they are uninterested in continuing horse racing at Arlington International Racecourse.

Image: Marswilsalc/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size